Fanart Friday returns, and it's already thought twenty moves ahead. Last week, we dashed through our favorite SPEED-based characters in pursuit of THE PERFECT TEAM, but this week we focus on an equally-important necessity: the SKILL-based character! When strength and speed just aren't options, sometimes you need brainpower to solve a problem (or kick somebody's ass... usually, it's kicking somebody's ass).
You'd think SKILL-based characters are the type to only exist in fiction, as fights and dangerous situations happen in the blink of an eye, and talking is not a free action. Believe it or not, being able to think and improvise at a moment's notice is a skill that's very important in real-life fighting, and was perfectly demonstrated by current UFC champ Chris Weidman. Last year, Weidman (a Strength-type, if we're sticking to the archetypes of this theme) was facing Anderson Silva (a Speed-type, and probably the most talented fighter in MMA history). It wasn't Weidman's strength that led him to defeat Silva, and he certainly wasn't able to match Silva in speed--it was clever thinking, planning ahead, and using the right attack at the right time--watch how he turns Silva's crazy Matrix dodging to his own advantage. Now, let's get started!
Weidman won their rematch by being made of rock
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More or less, the "skill" character tends to have an all-around, balanced physical makeup. Not particularly strong, not particularly fast, meaning they can't edge out specialists, so they need to rely on tactics, training, and knowledge, like Appleseed's Deunan Knute.
But in TRIGUN, where everybody uses firearms, the kind of creativity and flexible thinking that lets you (usually) end any fight in six shots or less is something Vash the Stampede makes great use of.
Of course, detectives don't really do any fighting, so Conan Shinichi and Kindaichi constantly have to wrinkle their brains to get to the bottom of whatever case they've stumbled onto.
by celebistar READER SUBMISSION!
Battle strategy is really the name of the game for skill-based characters, like how Sio Ogura takes advantage of the combat know-how of Nobunaga himself in Nobunagun.
Usopp spends a lot of One Piece tucking tail and finding the hardest object to hide behind, but when push comes to shove, he's an incredibly fast thinker who exploits his opponents' weaknesses--often implanting them with a crippling fear of him, even though he's far from the deadliest member of the Straw Hats!
Shoot, when I said give me (reasonably) obscure requests, I didn't expect a book series titled The Farseer Trilogy! Thanks, though--this has given me something new to put on the to-read list, especially since the series features the very originally-named FitzChivalry Farseer, main character and all-around crafty, intelligent guy. These books remind a lot of The Witcher at face value.
Wait a minute--in Rurouni Kenshin, Saitou Hajime is faster and stronger than Sanosuke (the team's muscle), and he's a fair bit tougher and meaner than speed-based Kenshin... so why is he here? Simple! Saitou's entire fighting style revolves around a single special attack, the Gatotsu (and slight variations of that move), so he has to constantly maneuver opponents into situations where that one move finally becomes the killing blow.
Then, there are the cases where someone isn't "all-around" at anything at all--No Game No Life's Shiro and Sora don't have any physical aptitude to speak of, but their eerily in-sync nature and obsessive mastery of games make them a dangerous duo.
Speaking of sisters who are a little too attached to their brothers, it's The Irregular at Magic High School! Titular irregular Tatsuya isn't particularly adept with magic on the whole, but he has his own set of unique abilities that see him through anyway, and his intellgent use of these abilities helps him survive against opponents who (on paper) would wreck him.
by ultmte READER SUBMISSION!
There were requests for Kirito last week, but I think Sinon fits our Sword Art Online category nicely--especially since she's a sniper! A fireteam position requiring forethought, knowledge of your team's position and capabilities, and the ability to operate independently if necessary, a good sniper (which Sinon is) is invaluable in shooter games.
Wait, who was this guy again? I had to look him up, and I find... that dude who got his piercing ripped out by Touma in A Certain Magical Index? Well, it makes sense--he's a Level 0, so he also has to think hard to come with some intelligent, sneaky shortcuts to defeat enemies with more raw power than him.
For those of you who drive, think of how difficult it really is--sure, for drivers it's second nature, but you have to pay attention to everything around you, not get distracted, and make small adjustments on a giant metal box that's screaming along at 65 miles an hour (or faster) on a single plane of movement. Now imagine all of that, only now you're reverse bungie-jumping between trees or buildings on steel cables in a 360-degree space with no protection while fighting with swords, and you might have some idea what Levi does in Attack on Titan.
by MadPandaKira READER SUBMISSION!
It's not only Usopp who has to run alongside fight-happy freaks in One Piece--the crew's navigator, Nami, isn't exactly a master of physical combat, but her knowledge of meteorology and sly tricks keep her on-par with her peers. According to Oda, she's tougher than Usopp (as "Usopp will always be the weakest"), so... yeah.
Berserk's Band of the Hawk rewarded all-around skillsets--for instance, Guts (who's showing up next week!) was pretty light on his feet in addition to hitting like a freight train, and Casca's speed, accuracy, and tenacity put her in multiple categories. Judeau specialized in throwing weapons, forcing him to use his wits to survive, where others could simply power through.
Um... hi, Murakami! Are you lost? I mean, I know that you're pretty amazeballs in Brynhildr in the Darkness, what with having photographic memory like Shawn on Psych, but are you sure you should be here? Plain as Folk Edition was a while ago. Oh, you do belong here? Cool. (HE KEEPS STARING LIKE THAT, IT'S CREEPY)
When you really get down to it, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fights are always about opponents maneuvering each other into a position where they can land a single attack that ends the fight, whether through death or ludicrously excessive injury. As Joseph Joestar isn't as young and ferocious as he used to be (and his Stand abilities aren't exactly useful in combat), he has to work his brain at a million miles an hour to figure out ways to defeat younger, healthier, meaner enemies.
by OroNoDa READER SUBMISSION!
Back when Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 came out, everybody was like "waaaah why Rocket Raccoon? WHY NOT GAMBIT" while forgetting that Gambit is one of the stupidest characters to ever come out of the Marvel Universe. Now Guardians of the Galaxy hits, and everybody's in love with the fuzzy little John McClane-alike. I told you he was awesome.
Pokemon games are all about the "skill" talent tree--much as I'd love to just walk up and swat a Zubat out of the air, it's up to the trainer to make his Pokemon attack and defend as intelligently as possible.
Kenichi, otherwise known as The Mightiest Disciple, has a pretty well-rounded skillset. He's tough, he's fairly fast, but more often than not he has to rely on technique to win.
Same goes for Free!'s Rei, who (apparently) learned multiple strokes to be the Iwatobi Swimming Club's all-around go-to guy! I'm just taking your word for it, since I still have to finish the first season, which I'm probably going to do in one awesome marathon session.
This... this picture is so sad. Seriously though, the bounty hunters of Cowboy Bebop have to spend more time researching and staking out targets than actually shooting or fighting it out with them, which... kinda makes sense, since they actually want to get paid for their bounties.
Karuta is a card game where an announcer reads poems, and you have to slap away the correct cards to complete the poem. It's a game of memorization, strategy, and hilariously necessary explosive power--watch Chihayafuru and you'll see Chihaya here go berserk!
When you get down to it, there are two specific characters that really make me appreciate skill-type fighters. First off is Naruto's Shikamaru, whose main method of attack (controlling people with shadows) isn't a particularly direct method of fighting, so he has to lay traps and work the battlefield to his advantage...
...and the characters who inspired this theme, Yu Yu Hakusho's Kurama and Hunter x Hunter's Kurapika! When you're stuck with hard-hitting monstrosities like Gon, Yusuke, Killua, and Hiei, someone needs to be the voice of reason!
And that's everything for this week! There's no way I could have included everybody or met every request--who are your favorite skill-type characters? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
Like I say every week, your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your work (full URL, please!), and I'll be sure to include it in a future installment! Here are the next three installments for Fanart Friday:
-Next week, on AUGUST 22nd, when all else fails, you have to rely on your GUTS! We already kinda visited this theme with On Our Backs and In Our Hearts Edition and Never Give Up, Never Surrender Edition, but another go-around never hurt anybody! Who are your picks for next week? THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-Then, on AUGUST 29th, a good team can't go anywhere without a top-of-the-line LEADER! We get to wrap up our month-long construction of THE PERFECT TEAM with leaders who lead from the front... or just prefer to hang back and delegate responsibility. Both are valid strategies!
-On SEPTEMBER 5th, we revisit an annual regular theme with another installment of BACK TO SCHOOL EDITION! If you need inspiration, you can check out previous Back to School installments here and here, along with Masters and Students Edition!
Thanks again for coming by to check out Fanart Friday! Have a great weekend, and I hope you drop by next week!